Yesterday, on October 6, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky appointed Ihor Fomenko the new acting Director General of state concern Ukroboronprom (hereinafter - UOP) after accepting the resignation of Aivaras Abromavicius.
What do we know about the new UOP's top manager?
Earlier, Fomenko was in the team of his predecessor Aivaras Abromavicius who initiated a large-scale transformation of UOP a year ago. Fomenko joined Ukroboronprom in November of 2019: at first as the Deputy Director for Armored, Radar, and Specialized Equipment, and then as the Deputy Director for Production. Before that, he founded research and production company Bridge Center, was Deputy Director for Production of AvtoKrAZ trucks and Director for Marketing and Sales of Corum Group that implemented projects in the mining industry. Fomenko has an MBA from the German Institute of International Business Relations (Germany). Also he took Executive Education courses at Harvard Business School and French Business School INSEAD. In his new role Fomenko promises to continue UOP transformation and its member companies launched by the new team. He also informed that his priorities include ‘raising social standards and creating the positive image of the employer to engage talented engineers that will enable renewing UOP’s professional team’.
How will the role of Aivaras Abromavicius change?
Former UOP Director General Aivaras Abromavicius had planned to manage the enterprise for only a year, only to launch the reform and then continue overseeing it as a member of the Supervisory Board. Thus, two months ago he filed a resignation letter. Now, the President accepted the letter of resignation but it is still unclear if Abromavicius will return to the UOP Supervisory Board. During the year of Abramavicius management UOP’s team was fully renewed, the first audit in the history of the enterprise was launched, both the strategy and the plan of transformation were prepared with the support of Ukraine’s international partners and independent NGOs, including NAKO. “The first stage of UOP’s transformation has been finished. The strategy and the plan of UOP reorganization and its member companies is ready, many operational processes have been changed, the audits are in the process. It’s only the beginning of the transformation process which will last for several years and will require comprehensive work and political support… I am sure that UOP’s team will continue and fully implement the reform that will revitalize the whole defence industry and make it attractive for investments,” said Aivaras Abromavicius.
NAKO sees Fomenko’s appointment as a sign of the President’s support for UOP’s transformation initiated by Abromavicius. We sincerely hope that in his new role Fomenko would be able to continue the transformation of UOP in line with OECD standards, making Ukraine’s defence industry more transparent, accountable and less prone to corruption. These are the measures that NAKO has been pushing for during the last 3 years and which are supported by Ukraine’s international partners. It remains to be seen who will fill the seats that the UOP Supervisory Board. The current state of Supervisory Board can be defined as ‘transitionary’. Director General of Ukrposhta Ihor Smilyansky left UOP’s Supervisory Board, and now there are only 3 members there: Volodymyr Horbulin, Oleh Prohorenko, and Dr. Anthony Tether. When the President and the Cabinet of Ministers appoint new members, it’s of high importance that these positions are occupied by professionals who understand and support the defence industry reform. Even more crucial is that a new legal framework is put in place to enable the creation of the new UOP Board with independent members in line with the OECD standards. Currently, Draft Law #3822 ‘On Reforming State-Owned Enterprises in the Military Industrial Complex’ needs to be supported by the Parliament to provide legal possibility for UOP’s corporatization and transformation of its Board. According to the new legislation the Board would be responsible for selecting a new UOP Director General.